Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Libya) (C 190)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1982
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A
Previous Committee Decisions see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/190/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/190/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
January 2007: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; August 2008: World Heritage Centre mission.
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Need to complete the Conservation and Management Plan in order to co-ordinate actions in the short- and medium-term
- Need to provide a detailed map at the appropriate scale showing the boundaries of the property and buffer zone, as well as regulatory measures foreseen to ensure the protection of the property
- Inadequate protection leading to threat to rock-hewn monumental tombs, vandalism and the development of agricultural activities in the rural zone
- Urban encroachment and uncontrolled building construction leading to destruction of archaeological areas
- Inappropriate earlier restoration work
- Problem of discharge of sewage from the modern town into the Wadi Bel Ghadir
- Inadequate on-site security and control systems
- Need for a presentation and interpretation system for visitors and the local population
- Crop production
- Deliberate destruction of heritage
- Interpretative and visitation facilities
- Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
- Management activities
- Management systems / management plan
- Surface water pollution
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/190/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016
The State Party did not provide a report on the progress in implementing the recommendations adopted in Decision 39 COM 7B.56, which was requested by the Committee at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015).
From 9 to 11 May 2016, an International Expert Meeting on the Safeguarding of Libyan Cultural Heritage, organized by UNESCO and ICCROM as well as the Ministry of Culture of Libya, with funding from the Embassy of the United States of America in Libya, was held in Tunis (Tunisia). This meeting allowed the World Heritage Centre to collect information about the state of conservation of the site through exchanges with the Libyan participants, notably during the working group session on archaeological sites and a specific bilateral side meeting concerning the property. The Libyan heritage professionals informed the representatives of the World Heritage Centre that the urban encroachment is increasing in the periphery of the site, but towards the opposite side of the latter. They also underlined that vandalism has increased and that numerous tombs of the south-west side have been bulldozed. They explained that the army responded to the request of the Department of Antiquities to secure the area by not letting the bulldozers enter the entire area of Jebel Akhdar, where the property is located. However, this measure has not entered into force yet. It was further highlighted that the municipalities have a key role to play in compelling the security bodies to ensure the protection of the property and that the Department of Antiquities is working with the responsible authorities on the establishment of an agreement that will lead to the allocation of funding to compensate land owners in the site. The discussions on this proposal are still ongoing and raise several legal issues.
The working group on archaeological sites confirmed that urban encroachment and illegal housing, as well as intentional destruction are the main threats to the property, in addition to fire. It produced a series of measures, as follows:
- In terms of monitoring: to monitor the illegal constructions and urban encroachment on the World Heritage properties through satellite imagery and field recording where possible;
- In terms of security and protection: to identify the boundaries of the World Heritage properties, with the support of the archaeological missions and have them officially adopted by the World Heritage Committee; to strongly enforce the Antiquities law, while renouncing to the compensation process which is not sustainable; to ensure funding to provide for security measures and equipment including fencing and monitoring cameras, resources for the guards, and firefighting equipment;
- In terms of conservation: to refrain from restoration works during the conflict (only emergency measures for which conservation equipment and materials should be provided).
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
The information provided by the responsible authorities at the International Expert Meeting on the Safeguard of Libyan Cultural Heritage about the situation at the site raises very high concerns.
The prevention, monitoring and mitigation measures identified during the International Expert Meeting on the Safeguarding of Libyan Cultural Heritage (May 2016) should be implemented as a matter of urgency. It is essential that the joint UNESCO/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission requested by the Committee at its 39th (Bonn, 2015) session be sent to the property, as soon as the security conditions permit, in order to carry out an assessment of its state of conservation and identify the most urging needs.
Until then, the responsible authorities should regularly update the World Heritage Centre on the situation on the ground and implement, to the extent possible, the recommendations of the International Expert Meeting on the Safeguard of Libyan Cultural Heritage, as well as the requests of the Committee in its previous decisions.
Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7B.106
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Documents WHC/16/40.COM/7B and WHC/16/40.COM/7,
- Deplores the conflict situation prevailing in the country and the loss of human lives;
- Commends the State Party for making strong commitments for conservation of its properties but expresses its utmost concern with regard to the damage occurred and the threats to the five World Heritage properties of Libya;
- Considers that the optimal conditions required to ensure the conservation and protection of the Outstanding Universal Value of these properties are not present anymore and that the latter are, consequently, threatened by both ascertained and potential danger, in accordance with paragraphs 177 to 179 of the Operational Guidelines ;
- Decides, in conformity with Article 11.4 of the Convention and Paragraphs 177 and 179 of the Operational Guidelines, to inscribe the Archaeological Site of Cyrene, the Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna, the Archaeological Site of Sabratha, the Old Town of Ghadamès and the Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Libya) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
- Requests the State Party to systematically gather, to the extent possible, the information relating to all the damages to the World Heritage properties in order to document the state of conservation of these properties;
- Also requests the State Party to invite the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to carry out a mission to Libya as soon as the security conditions permit, in order to assess the state of conservation of the properties and elaborate, in consultation with the State Party, an action plan for their restauration;
- Further requests the State Party in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to prepare, as soon as the situation allows, the corrective measures as well as a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the properties from the List of World Heritage in Danger, once a return to stability is effective in the country;
- Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, a detailed report on the state of conservation of each of the five World Heritage properties of Libya, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.
Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7B.24
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add,
- Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.56, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
- Expresses its concern that the State Party is not in a position to submit a report on the state of conservation of the property, as requested by the Committee at its 39th session in 2015;
- Expresses its high concern regarding the information provided by the Libyan heritage professionals during the International Meeting on the Safeguarding of Libyan Cultural Heritage, on the state of conservation of the property and the threats it incurs in the prevailing situation;
- Requests the State Party to submit further information on the state of conservation of the property as soon as the security situation permits, and notably concerning the measures undertaken to physically protect the property from the urban encroachment and vandalism;
- Urges the State Party to implement the requested short term measures for monitoring, protecting the site from potential vandalism and fire prevention;
- Also requests the State Party to extend the implementation of these short term measures to the Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna and the Archaeological Site of Sabratha;
- Calls on the international community to provide financial and technical support to Libya to implement the short and medium term measures identified during the International Meeting on the Safeguarding of Libyan Cultural Heritage;
- Decides, in conformity with Article 11.4 of the Convention and Paragraphs 177 and 179 of the Operational Guidelines, to inscribe the Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Libya) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
- Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.
Decision Adopted: 40 COM 8C.1
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List (WHC/16/40.COM/7B, WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add.2) and the proposals for inscription of properties on the World Heritage List (WHC/16/40.COM/8B and WHC/16/40.COM/8B.Add),
- Decides to inscribe the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
- Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decisions 40 COM 7B.24 and 40 COM 7B.106)
- Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 40 COM 7B.106)
- Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 40 COM 7B.106)
- Libya, Archaeological Site of the Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 40 COM 7B.106)
- Libya, Archaeological Site of the Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decisions 40 COM 7B.25 and 40 COM 7B.106)
- Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 40 COM 7B.13)
- Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 40 COM 8B.22)
- Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 40 COM 7B.48).